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Strategies for Better Patient Flow and Capacity Utilization in Outpatient Clinics

Event Details
Audience: Healthcare Executives
Duration: 2 hours
Location: Miami Herbert Business School, University of Miami


Annual spending on health in the United States is projected to grow 5.8% each year between 2014 and 2024, this growth rate being faster than the average GDP growth rate. Recent reports by the National Academy of Medicine have urged the use of operations management and information technology methods to improve the quality of care and efficiency in hospitals. Healthcare applications of operations management theory and tools have become a thriving field, both in academia and in industry.

Outpatient services account for more than 80% of patient care in the United States, and most patients access these services via appointment systems. One central challenge in the management of healthcare operations is to match capacity and demand for outpatient services under variability and unpredictability. From an operational standpoint, a good appointment system strikes the right balance between efficient resource utilization and contained patients' waiting times. Outpatient clinics often face various sources of variability that disrupt their daily operations, and which add layers of complexity to the appointment scheduling problem. For example, there is variability and seasonality in the daily demand for outpatient care, it is common for patients to not show up for their scheduled services, patients who show up are not necessarily punctual, consultation times are stochastic, and unscheduled emergency patients may need to be seen by their provider in a short notice.

In this seminar, we will discuss strategies for managing patient flow in outpatient clinics via a well-designed appointment system. In particular, the following topics will be covered:


Christos Zacharias

Christos Zacharias is an Assistant Professor of Management Science at Miami Herbert Business School. He earned his BSc in Mathematics from the University of Athens, and his PhD in Operations Management from New York University. He specializes in discrete optimization, applied probability, queueing theory, scheduling, and their applications in healthcare operations. His research has been published in Production and Operations Management, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, and Management Science. He is the recipient of the "INFORMS Service Science Section Best Paper Award.”


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